Chief Executive Officer of the National Youth Authority (NYA) Pius Enam Hadzide, has contended that the period between 2017 to now is the best time for the youth in the country.
This, he said is due to a number of government intervention programmes like Free SHS, NABCo amongst others, which have been implemented to support the youth.
Speaking in an interview on Upfront with Raymond Acquah, Thursday, Mr. Enam Hadzide explained that the government’s job creation programme, NABCo and Free SHS have massively improved the youth employment and secondary education deficits in the country.
“It has been one of the most fantastic and best times to be a youth in Ghana, because I will take it for instance, from education to create a certain context. The challenge and the history have been that there has been a large number of Ghanaian youth who dropped along the line, not because of lack of mental capacity or lack of interest in education, but just because of financial barriers.
“Today, because of Free SHS, no young person willing and able is left out, at least we are guaranteed that if this continues for the next 15 to 20 years, we are guaranteed a generation that has a minimum level of secondary education and that can only be a good thing for us.
“We go into for instance, the job creation era, we were in this country, we know about the Association of unemployed graduates…within the last four years, we have created vehicles that can absorb this backlog of unemployment, for instance, NABCo,” he said.
According to him, government’s 1D1F and the Planting for Food and Jobs have also helped alleviate the unemployment rate in the country.
“The recruitment opportunity that fall out of the 1D1F is clear. There are many young people getting the job. Even in addition to that, factories have been ceded off for young entrepreneurs under the 1D1F. About 45 of the factories are owned by young people below the age of 35. Some of them [factories] are amongst those that are under construction, some of them are also amongst the ones that are operational now,” he added.
But a member of the opposition NDC, John Dumelo believes Mr. Enam Hadzide’s assertions are not representative of the actuality on the grounds.
He argued that “this is actually the worse time to be a youth in this country. Of course, he is speaking on behalf of the government, so he will paint a very nice picture, but when you ask about the youth employment rate he couldn’t on top of his head, give you the figure, that should tell you that the youth are really struggling in this country”.
Meanwhile, Government has completed the piloting of its flagship ‘YouStart’ programme which is set to be rolled out in April this year.
According to Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, the youth entrepreneurship programme, when rolled out, will be a vehicle for supporting young entrepreneurs to gain access to capital, training, technical skills, and mentoring to enable them to launch and operate their own businesses.
“I believe that addressing youth unemployment through a coordinated approach and at the same time devoting resources to build on Ghana’s human capital would ultimately support and sustain our vision of transforming Ghana Beyond Aid.
“Government’s policy direction to pursue our vision, is to create an enterprise-driven economy. In this regard, government will continue to strengthen the links between education and job market stakeholders and provide access to finance skills, and markets for our young entrepreneurs, so that the private sector is well resourced to create jobs for our teeming youth,” Ken Ofori-Atta said.